Disability, quality of life, productivity impairment and employer costs of migraine in the workplace

Toshihiko Shimizu, Fumihiko Sakai, Hitoshi Miyake, Tomofumi Sone, Mitsuhiro Sato, Satoshi Tanabe, Yasuhiro Azuma, David W. Dodick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Migraine is the leading cause of days lost due to disability in the world among people less than 50 years of age. There is a paucity of evidence on the impact of migraine and other headache disorders and the cost and productivity losses in the workplace. Methods: Employee population survey assessed prevalence, characteristics, and disability of headache disorders at a Japanese information technology company. This study was supported by the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region Office and International Headache Society. Results: 2458 (1963men, 495 women) out of 2494 responded to the survey that utilized ICHD-3 beta criteria. Among these, 13% (205 male/123 female) had migraine (M), 53% (1093 male/207 female) had tension-type headache (TTH) and 4% (61 male/27 female) had migraine and TTH (M/TTH). The number of days when productivity at work was reduced by half or more because of headache was significantly higher in migraine compared to TTH. The norm-based scoring of SF-12v2 was significantly lower in M/TTH and M than TTH. The economic loss due to absenteeism for migraine was calculated to be $ 238.3US$/year/person for day-off and 90.2US$/year/person for half-day off using migraine disability assessment score (MIDAS). The economic loss due to presenteeism for migraine was calculated to be $ 375.4US$/year/person using MIDAS and 2217US$/year/person using work productivity and activity impairment questionnaire (WPAI). Furthermore, estimated cost of productivity loss associated with presenteeism using WPAI was calculated at 21.3 billion US$/year in Japan as a whole. Conclusions: This study revealed a high prevalence and disease burden among employees with migraine that is associated with substantial losses in productivity and employer cost. These results support the development and implementation of workplace programs to improve migraine management in the workplace and reduce the burden and costs associated with lost workplace productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Absenteeism
  • Disability
  • Economic loss
  • Impact
  • Migraine
  • Presenteeism
  • Prevalence
  • Stigma
  • Work productivity
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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